When buying a wet dry vac, you are choosing a versatile cleaning machine for a wider range of applications than a general home vacuum.
Unlike a standard vacuum we use at home which can only pick up dry materials, a wet dry vacuum, some people call it shop vac, has the ability to tackle dry as well as wet messes.
Shop vacs commonly are more sturdier, heavy duty, they generate powerful suction, some can pick up shark items that might damage a standard vacuum, such as a nail. And they feature larger capacity. You can easily find 6,8,10,12,16 gallon shop vac on the market, even vacuums with capacity of over 20 gallons. But a standard dry vacuum usually holds less than 1 gallon.
There are different types of wet dry vacuum cleaners, some are corded, some are cordless; some are handheld, some are upright, some can be wall mounted; some are for home use while some are commercial, industrial shop vacs for plumbers and workers;some are for woodworking,dust collection,and some are good for water removal.
And there are also many brands to choose from. For people who have no personal preference, you can have a look at the products from DeWalt,Stanley,Craftsman,Shop-Vac,Ridgid,Milwaukee,Festool,Vacmaster,etc., these are the top rated brands.
If you don’t have the time to do the research, below are some of the best selling items you can take into consideration. They are relatively good quality vacs on the market.
And of course, you should always know your cleaning needs first to choose the best one that fits your needs.
Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 – a large capacity shop vac for garage, shop and on the jobsite.
The Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 is a 16 gallon 6.5 peak horse power heavy-duty wet dry vacuum which is designed for garage, shop and on the jobsite, best for home projects and renovations.
It has 2-1/2-in diameter cleaning tools, 7 ft. hose, built-in drain for emptying liquids, built-in blower port, onboard attachments storage, comes with 2 extension wands, 1 utility nozzle, car nozzle, wet nozzle, dust collection bag.
It is rated at 190.8 CFM and 12 amps. For the noise level, it is rated 71.8 decibels with the hose attached.
The retail price usually is less than $100, this is inexpensive when compared to a standard vac.
You can use it for multi surface – gutters,carpet or hard floors such as concrete, tile floors,hardwood,etc.
- Plenty of suction power.
- Wheels roll nicely without tipping.
- Can be used as bagless or bagged for dry messes.
- Great for picking up dog hair and fur like husky fur.
- Does not come with a muffler.
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For those who are looking for the most powerful shop vac with the best suction power, you may want to consider this high cfm item. It could handle almost any jobs you want it to do, from car detailing, dust collection, picking up yard waste to removing water flooding from basement, it also has a blower function to use for leaves.
Overall, a strong large shop vac for the money.
If you want a larger job site shop vac that are mainly for large projects, you can also consider the 20 gallon model CMXEVBE17596.
2 DeWalt DXV10P – perfect size vac for most cleaning jobs.
If you think a 16 or 20 gallon shop vac is too big and too loud, but still want one that can handle both small and serious work,you can consider a smaller one, such as a 10 gallon vac.
The DeWalt DXV10P 10 gallon shop-vac has a 5.5 peak horse power motor, 20 ft. power cord, built-in blower port, built-in drain,built-in storage bag,built-in hose wrap,features aluminum casters, rubber wheels, waterproof power switch. Comes with 1-7/8″x7′ hose, 2 extension wands, 1 cartridge filter, dust bag, floor nozzle, utility nozzle, crevice nozzle.
- Quiet for its size. Maybe it’s not the quietest shop vac for its size, but quieter than many others.
- Great suction,pick up ashes,sawdust,drywall dust,sanding, and other construction debris with no problem.
- Built-in tank drain for easy liquid emptying.
- Bag is optional.
- Smooth casters,rubber wheels, easy to move around.
- Extension wands could be longer.
- Lack of a brush attachment.
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Overall, this DeWalt DXV10P is a powerful yet fairly quiet wet dry vacuum. It can remove imbedded messes in the carpet such as ground in dirt and dog fur, car cleaning, and provides enough suction for water extraction.
3 Vacmaster VF408 – a compact size shop vac with HEPA filter for house use.
Not every time you need a large wet dry vacuum, sometimes, a compact one is a better choice to get the small jobs done, such as the Vacmaster VF408.
The VF408 is under $100, if you are looking for an affordable wet dry vacuum, this one is a good choice. It has a 4 gallon tank, can be used with or without a bag, comes with tools for different jobs. If you want a wet dry vac with HEPA filter to prevent spreading dust in the house, then this vac might meet your needs, because it uses a HEPA exhaust filter.
- A budget wet dry vacuum.
- Power cord is retractable.
- HEPA filter for good air quality.
- Good choice of tools,onboard tool storage.
- Compact size.
- The 18 ft. cord could be longer.
- Build quality could be better.
- The hose is a bit stiff.
- The wand and hose diameter is narrow.
- Storage for tools is not sufficient, tools do not stay securely, could fall off.
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Overall, a good wet dry vacuum for the money. Suction power is ok. A good choice for home cleaning works when you don’t want to lug out the big shop vac. To learn more, you can download the manual – http://www.vacmaster.com/content/VF408Manual.pdf
4 DEWALT DCV581H – a small size and portable wet dry vacuum
If what you need is not only a small one, but also a portable one that you can move it around freely without being limited by the cord, you can consider a cordless, such as the little DEWALT DCV581H or the Milwaukee 0880-20.
The DEWALT DCV581H can be used as a corded with an AC outlet, or a cord free with an 18v or 20v MAX battery.
It has a 5 ft. hose, a crevice tool, wide nozzle tool,HEPA filter, and 31 cfm.
It is a little shop vac, holds only 2 gallons. Its suction is so so. But it is convenient for quick pick ups such as removing drywall dust without dragging out your bulky full size machine.
You can use it to vacuum saw dust, sand dust, car interiors, boat cleaning, floor mats, general home use, etc.
This one can also be used as a blower.
- So compact and convenient.
- Tools stay securely onboard.
- 3 year limited warranty.
- Accepts 1 1/4 inch diameter regular accessories.
- Can be battery powered or corded. If you run out of battery, you can still run it with the cord and an outlet.
- Exhaust port blows air right out of the side.
- With the battery pack, it is expensive. More expensive than a large shop vac.
- Some users complained that they got defective items, the vacuum stopped working with the battery, but worked with the cord only after a few months usage.
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Overall, a portable and light duty wet dry vacuum for quick clean ups and small jobs like picking up sand in a car and boat cleaning. Suction power and noise level is average.
If you need a smaller vac, there are mini items on the market, such as the DeWalt DCV517 which holds only 0.5 gallons, this mini handheld wet dry vac is convenient for small jobs when it is a pain to drag out the bulky shop vac.
If you need one for removing spills, pet urine odor and stains from carpet, then a wet dry vacuum does not fit, what you need is a carpet washer, such as a the Bissell Big Green or the Hoover Carpet Cleaner FH50251.